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30th Apr 2018

Jean-Eric Vergne takes victory after dramatic final lap in Paris E-Prix

Sam Bird remains in the hunt, but this was a perfect day for Vergne

Simon Lloyd

Partnership with Formula E

Jean-Eric Vergne claimed a memorable victory in Formula E’s Paris E-Prix on Saturday, tightening his grip on top spot in the drivers’ championship.

Racing in his home city, Vergne enjoyed a relatively straightforward race. Having qualified on pole, he only briefly lost the lead as he made a pit stop halfway through, reclaiming it a lap later.

His win means the Techeetah driver has now extended his lead at the top of the championship over Britain’s Sam Bird, who was involved in a dramatic final lap of the race. Having qualified for the race in second on the grid, Bird, a winner in Rome earlier in the month, had slipped to fourth as the race reached its climax.

Vergne’s teammate Andre Lotterer looked well placed to make it a Techeetah one-two, with reigning Formula E champion Lucas DiGrassi set to claim last spot on the podium.

However, having spent the closing stages defending his position fiercely, Lotterer’s car suffered a dramatic loss of energy. DiGrassi passed him to claim second before Bird ploughed into the back of his car. Remarkably, Bird was able to get past Lotterer for a third-place finish – despite his DS Virgin car crossing the line with only three wheels.

Lotterer would go on to finish sixth, also overtaken by Venturi’s Maro Engel  and Sebastien Buemi of Renault e.dams. Stewards later deemed that he had been at fault for the collision with Bird, issuing the German with a 10-place grid penalty for the next race.

It was an entertaining end to the race for the thousands that had lined the track to watch, including Idris Elba, who was also in attendance.

Despite the drama, the day undoubtedly belonged to Vergne, who will take a 31-point cushion with him to next month’s Berlin E-Prix.

“I can’t find words,” he said after taking the checkered flag. “It’s an incredible feeling, by far my best victory.”

Bird looks to be the only man capable of preventing Vergne from claiming the championship, with his podium finish enough to open up a 30-point gap between himself and Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist, who currently sits third in the drivers’ standings.

After the Berlin E-Prix on May 19, the championship moves to Zürich for the final European race of the season. It’s then on to the United States where a double-header in New York will close the season.


Formula E